Drafting Pre-Nuptial Agreements.

The New Jersey Family Law Attorneys at Cores & Associates are experienced at drafting Pre-Nuptial Agreements. This type of agreement may be used by a couple to determine, prior to marriage, what each party's rights and obligations will be in the unlikely event of divorce. Premarital agreements are governed by a statute, namely the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, N.J.S.A. 37:2-31 et seq. Generally, the agreement must be in writing, must be signed by the parties before the marriage, must have a statement of all assets belonging to the parties at the time of the agreement attached to it, and both parties must either have independent counsel or specifically waive, in writing, their right to have an independent attorney review the agreement. The agreement becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties.

Suffice to say, if a pre-nuptial agreement is properly drafted, it can save the parties significant emotional and financial expense if they get divorced. It can save time and expense of disputes over pre-marital property and whether things like alimony will be available in the event of divorce. While these agreements cannot resolve all issues, for example custody and support of children born of the marriage, they can be useful tools, particularly if one or both parties have significant assets prior to the marriage.

The New Jersey Divorce Attorneys at Cores & Associates can prepare pre-nuptial agreements that can do a number of things to protect you in the event of divorce. We can set forth the rights and obligations of each of the parties with respect to any of the property owned by either or both of them, whenever and wherever acquired or located. The agreement can govern the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property.

We can draft New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Agreements that govern the disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event. The Cores & Associates Pre-Nuptial Agreement can set forth the availability, modification or elimination of spousal support, otherwise known as alimony. The agreement can also do a number of other things, such as:

Cores & Associates will address all matters related to your divorce, including:

  • The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
  • The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  • The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
  • Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of New Jersey public policy.

It is critical that you have an experienced New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Attorney draft your agreement. Going through the process to have an agreement drafted can all be for not if it is unenforceable in whole, or in part, in the unlikely event of a divorce.

N.J.S.A. 37:2-38 sets forth the requirements for an enforcement New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Agreement. As an initial matter, the burden of proof to set aside a pre-nuptial agreement is on the party alleging the agreement to be unenforceable. In other words, there is a presumption that a pre-nuptial agreement is valid and enforceable. That being said, a New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Agreement is not enforceable if the party challenging it proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that:

  • a. The party executed the agreement involuntarily; or
  • b. The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed because that party, before execution of the agreement:
    • (1) Was not provided full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other party;
    • (2) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided;
    • (3) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party; or
    • (4) Did not consult with independent legal counsel and did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel.
  • c. The issue of unconscionability of a premarital or pre-civil union agreement shall be determined by the court as a matter of law. An agreement shall not be deemed unconscionable unless the circumstances set out in subsection b of this section are applicable.

The experienced New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Agreement Attorneys at Cores & Associates will ensure your agreement is drafted in accordance with the law and achieves the goals you set forth. Keep in mind that a New Jersey Pre-Nuptial Agreement may still not be enforced even if all statutory requirements are met if it was unconscionable at the time it was signed.

Contact the New Jersey pre-nuptial agreement attorneys at cores & Associates to learn more about how we can either draft a pre-nuptial agreement or review one prepared by another attorney.